4 Wave optics

Authored by: Daniel Malacara

Handbook of Visual Optics

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781482237856
eBook ISBN: 9781315373034
Adobe ISBN:


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Most light phenomena can be explained by modeling the light as a transverse wave. However, a few phenomenon, like the ­photoelectric effect or the blackbody radiation, cannot be ­interpreted, unless the light is considered as a particle, which we call photon. So for most practical purposes, the light is a transverse wave or, more specifically, an electromagnetic wave. A monochromatic light wave has an electric field with sinusoidal oscillation in a perpendicular direction to its traveling path. It also has a sinusoidal magnetic field in a plane perpendicular to the electric field, as illustrated in Figure 4.1.

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